Reupholstery of TF seats by LaVerne Downey
(Note: the images and text contained here have been contributed by LaVerne Downey)
Images are in thumbnail form, click to expand.
The first couple of shots are of the seats as they sat in the builder I bought. All vinyl and very filthy. If fact the first thing I did after I got the car home and the dozen or so dead mice and boxes of parts out of the car was head to the car wash while I still had the car on the trailer.  You might notice that both seats do have the tonneau bars on the seat back. One is chrome and one is painted red. You can see in the photos that the recover someone did left a lot to be desired.  


Next group of photos show the seat frame after the removal of the vinyl seat covers and the horsehair matting. There was also some cotton wadding which may or may not have been original to the seats. There was evidence of some of the original seat material which showed that the car was built with a red interior. I was surprised to see that it was indeed a fairly bright red. The seat frames showed evidence of years of corrosion but it wasn't beyond use. Moss suggests that the TF seat kits should be sent to professionals for installations. If you want it perfect that is probably a good idea. If you are going to do it your self then I highly recommend that you only remove the seat covers off one seat at a time. You will then be able to use the still assembled seat for a visual aid. After removing the seat covers I began the cleaning the frames which involved a wire wheel on the 4 1/2" grinder and a lot of elbow grease with a wire brush. Once cleaned up I inspected the springs and the wooden strips which are attached to the seat frames. Both were in good shape so I then gave the assembly a good coating of black paint. The tonneau bars went into the bead blaster along with the seat rails for a cleaning down to bare metal. After the cleaning I sprayed the bars with a light goldish Honda color that I also sprayed on the hood frame. The seat rails I sprayed with some cold galvanizing paint although ideally you would probably want to have them silver anodized.  


Next photo shows the underside of the seat cushion. It may have been original to the car. It was much more like the rubberised  foam rubber from way back when. At this point I decide that there was no way the stinky horsehair and foam rubber were going back into the car. I had the Moss Leather seat kit on the shelf and new seat bottom assemblies from Moss. What I did not have were new seat back cushions. Moss does not list them. I took one of the new seat back panels to a local fabric shop and had them trace the shape onto a piece of 2 1/2"  thick foam and cut it for me. I also bought some 1" thick foam and some modern synthetic batting.  Now having the seat foam I was ready to tackle the seats.  Here is a bill of materials I think you should have on hand before you begin.
1..  A set of upholstry pliers. I have included a photo for those of you who haven't seen them before. I bought these years ago from an artist shop when I fancied myself a painter and I stretched my own canvas. These are a must and are not that expensive.
2. The best grade of 3M contact cement spray you can find. 2 cans
3. Duo type staple gun with 1/4" staples. manual or electric doesn't matter (I have both)
4. This ones tough , I borrowed an old Sears brand stapler that uses some very small copper u shaped staples. It has a needle like tip and I've only seen this one but it will be very handy later on.
5. An electric carving knive.

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I tackled the seat bottoms first as they would be the easiest. If I were to do this again I would do them last. The reason is that it would have been much easier to line up the stitching with the seat backs. It was pretty straight forward stretching the material over the new bases and stapling the fabric to the base. In retrospect I would Have added some foam rubber to the base between the foam and the wood. The seats when finished now show the line where the foam ends and I believe that the addition of some more foam would have eliminated that.  I think you can see what I'm talking about in this picture. The seat bottoms are behind the frame.


Next I sprayed the frames with the contact cement and the seat back foam and set the foam to the seat frame.  Forgot one item on the bill of materials. Several sets of the quick  clamps come in very handy at that stage to hold the foam in place. I also placed some of the 1" foam on the sides of the frames as can be seen in the pictures and while it looked very nice I would discover that it was to thick and I would have to remove it.  I had to test fit the covers and this process took several days . The foam I had cut for the back was to long and I had to remove material with the carving knife to allow the seat bottom to fit properly. I wound up using the synthetic batting to fill the top and sides of the frame to give a  nice padded appearance. The next step was to use the loose vinyl that comes in the kit to cover the seat frame bottoms using the contact cement. Remember why I said to keep one together for reference. After assembling the seat bottom to the frame you can the attach the seat back to the frame.  I'm not sure what they used at the factory but I don't think you could find tacks short enough for the job. This is where the Sears staple gun came in. With the needle point nose and the short "u" staples I was able to get the back attached to the frame without the staples being to noticeable. You can the attach the tonneau bars to the seat back and they will be ready to go back in your TF. I do have some "puckers of the leather on the corners of the seat backs you can see here.If it were a professional job I wouldn't have been happy. But as a do it your self job I'm ok with it.

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The finished product after three years.



For further information, contact LaVerne by clicking HERE.



(508) 746-6735
Created 3/31/09
Reinstalled 6/24/11